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Winter Market: Meet our Shu Ren Community Partner Entrepreneurs!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Behind their products is a story-a passion that is creatively expressed in their work.  Here, is a sneak peak at the amazing people you will meet at our Winter Market! 

AP Greeting Cards, by Alyssa Panyawai

I moved up to Berkeley from San Diego where I have lived for most of my adult life, but I was raised in Bangkok, Thailand. I am a social worker and the work I do can be challenging, so I find making greeting cards a good form of self-care. The first card I made was for my best friend's wedding.

To me, entrepreneurship means taking risks and facing challenges to create something you're passionate about.


Baffin Art, by Eva Imbsweiler

I'm a fourth-generation teacher and a second-generation artist living in beautiful Oakland, California. My mother has a creative spirit, and I moonlight in her footsteps making paper mosaics and drawing. Baffin Art was inspired by a desire to share my love for art with my friends and family. Creating paper mosaics has become a meditative practice for me, and my art reflects my appreciation for natural scenes. I enjoy spending time outdoors and also incorporate yoga into my daily life.  

Entrepreneurship means creativity and courage!


Benji Marx


I have been interacting with music since I was old enough to stand up and dance to it. As a musician, my path has been a non-linear one. I have found myself in various places across America, and working various jobs to support myself. I most recently settled in the Bay Area and have been working at the Shu Ren School teaching music. I discovered that teaching music provided a fulfillment different that of performing, and perhaps more rewarding. This identity as a teacher and nurturer is something that I have begun to incorporate into what I create and how I present myself as an artist. The music I am offering at the Winter Market tonight was written and recorded during my time in the Bay Area and reflects a deep period of change and growth that I experienced during my time here. 

Being an entrepreneur requires an acceptance of the non-linear life path, a willingness to reflect deeply upon yourself, and belief that you have something unique and worthwhile to share with the world.


This Collective celebrates the creator in all of us!  This collection is made up of products made by Shu Ren students and parents, inspired by ideas big and small.  



Dani Robison began constructing otherworldly objects using adaptive stained glass techniques seven years ago in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  After moving to the Bay in 2013 her practice widened to include generating wearable glass amulets, objects more accessible and personally intimate than her previous large scale lamps/sculptures.  Not only is each amulet unique (Robison's designs are never repeated), they are notable for their three-dimensionality, reliance on up-cycled found materials (smashed bottles, plates, mugs) and frequent inclusion of ephemeral grime (dirt, ash, wax, plant material).

Entrepreneurship resonates beyond the artwork I imagine and construct.  It means actively shaping the processes of commerce I engage in, making them more personally connective, making my work accessible using barter and a sliding scale, and offering skill sharing whenever I can.


Our son was diagnosed with severe food allergies at 9 months old. Our lives changed completely. Suddenly even the simplest trips to restaurants, parks, grocery stores became very hazardous for our son.

We did a lot traveling in our 15 years of marriage before we had our son, and couldn’t wait to share our love of traveling with him. During our first trip to Hawaii we found out how inconvenient and unsafe it was to travel when you have life threatening dietary restrictions. It was during that trip to Hawaii, standing on Waikiki Beach that I decided that life was too short to be inconvenienced by food allergies. And so, our adventure, which today is Flo’s Friendly Foods began.

Flo’s Friendly Foods provides food solutions for people with dietary restrictions and the business that serve them. We have created an inclusive menu and product line that features dishes for vegans, food allergies, celiacs and those that eat kosher but most importantly for those who want great tasting food.

Flo’s Friendly Foods has been part of the Shu Ren community since 2015. 


House of Cranes

My name is Tina Dickinson, and I came to revisiting with making origami cranes last year as I was helping with Shu Ren’s End of School Year Showcase.  And since then, I began exploring ways to perfect my Origami Crane Mobiles.  

Entrepreneurship means doing something that you believe and love doing.  Otherwise, what’s the point?!!


Paul Frank Wagner

As an artist, I’ve always been interested in showing unity and expressing my truth of the way I see the world.  In 2013, with the birth of my youngest son, I turned my attention to Arts Education, running creative workshops for teachers and activities with children, as my wife, son and I embarked on a journey around the world. During this time, I have been focusing my artistic practice on ink drawings and process-driven works that were more freeform, mirroring our nomadic lifestyle.

We are a creative husband and wife team that love travel and discovering nature's little surprises. We collect handmade fabrics and paper, mostly from Asia, and use them to create small, inspiring art objects and books.

Entrepreneurship is realizing your passion and having the will to take risks and action to start a business around that passion. Entrepreneurs firmly believe in themselves and their idea, and pour their heart and soul into it. 


Signs of Power

Cherry Garden (Grade 4/5) spent six weeks exploring their unit of inquiry How We Express Ourselves, inquiring into how creative expression can affect the way people think and act.  They explored creative freedom, artistic activism, and how art can promote social change.  Students developed their poster and graphic t-shirt designs in art class through collaboration and a design-thinking process.

Cherry Garden has worked weeks on developing handmade art that can creatively express global issues they care deeply about and want to communicate to others, such as peace, social justice, and animal rights.  Their original poster and t-shirt designs can promote these important causes, while raising money for Alameda Food Bank and their class fund for future learning opportunities.  

To create an additional opportunity to raise funds, some students chose to bake items related to their current unit of inquiry: landforms.


Way to Life Foods - Daulet Bey

As a teenager, Daulet worked at a natural foods bakery in Oakland where she discovered her passion for baking healthy, delicious food. Some years later, with four young children to take care of, she turned that passion into a business, making and selling truly nutritious granola that tasted amazing. And as soon as her kids were old enough to reach the stove top, they joined her in the kitchen, and their own love of baking began.

Over the last several years, Daulet’s son Fard has taken Way to Life Foods into retail stores and grown its presence at farmers’ markets across California. Her son Taji — with help from his younger brother Malik — now has his own franchise business under the Way to Life umbrella, called “Your Way to Life”, using Daulet’s recipes and suppliers.

This is a business — and a family —that goes beyond granola. It’s not just a way of life; it’s a Way To Life.